What is hyperemia?
Hyperemia is the increase of blood to your organs. There are a number of different reasons why hyperemia occurs. Sometimes, it may be caused by disease, a sign of something serious happening in the body. Other times it might just be a basic physical response to activity in the body.
Signs of hyperemia
However, there are different causes of hyperemia that may produce different kinds of symptoms.
Causes of hyperemia
There are two types of hyperemia: active hyperemia and passive hyperemia:
This is the increase of blood flow in response to an organ’s demand for more blood. This can be caused by the following:
Hot Flashes and blushing
During perimenopause, hormones fluctuate as the body prepares to stop menstruating. These fluctuations in hormones can create hot flashes. A hot flash causes a rush of blood to the skin. Blushing has a similar effect as well.
Injury and infection
When an injury or infection occurs, the body sends blood to the area to repair the wound and fight off infection. The blood carries important immune cells that help the body self-repair. Severe trauma and infection can cause serious hyperemia and swelling.
Passive hyperemia is an increase or build up of blood that can’t be pumped through the body. Usually, it occurs because of disease that causes poor function or a blockage in an artery or vein.
In the process of pumping blood through the body, oxygen-rich blood flows into one side of the heart and pumps out the other side to send the blood throughout the body.
If the heart can’t pump blood out through the body, it can build up and cause congestion in other organs like the liver, kidneys, and spleen, and lungs. This can lead to other serious health problems.
Blocking or restricting an artery or vein can cause hyperemia. Bedrest that causes persistent pressure on veins may lead to hyperemia and bed sores.
Thrombosis is a clot that forms in a vein or an artery. This clot blocks blood flow and causes a build up of blood in one area. Thrombosis can be caused by:
Your doctor will take your personal and medical history, along with noting your symptoms. They may also perform a physical exam and take your vital signs like your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and temperature.
Depending on the type of hyperemia, your doctor may or may not perform tests. Active hyperemia is often a natural response that occurs as the body responds to activity. This can usually be diagnosed through symptoms and may not need tests.
Passive hyperemia may accompany other symptoms like:
If these symptoms occur along with variations in your vital signs, your doctor may also order:
- Blood tests
- Exercise stress test
- Imaging tests
Your doctor will use these to check the health and structure of arteries, veins, and the heart.
Treatment for hyperemia
Active hyperemia is often a natural response that occurs as the body responds to activity or tries to repair itself. Hyperemia during exercise, or caused by hot flashes, blushing, and digestion, generally don’t need treatment unless there are other symptoms. This is generally a healthy response in the body.
Treatment for passive hyperemia may involve lifestyle factors, medication, and medical devices, including:
The treatments will vary based on the cause of hyperemia. Adopting healthy lifestyle practices will benefit your overall health.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Heart Association: "Common Tests for Heart Failure."
American Heart Association: "Lifestyle Changes for Heart Failure."
American Heart Association: "Warning Signs of Heart Failure."
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: "Ischemic and Pressure-Induced Hyperemia: A Comparison."
Inflammatory Reaction: "Hyperemia, Stasis, and Increase in Vascular Permeability: New Methods for Their Quantitation."
John Hopkins Medicine: "Thrombosis."
Journal of Tissue Viability: "Hyperaemia."